While The Device Is Away, Hackers Come To Prey

While The Device Is Away, Hackers Come To Prey

These days, employees must occasionally work on the road. This means they're taking important data out of the confines of their company's private network and exposing it to threats.

Although traveling can be a hassle with so much to keep track of, you're better off forgetting to pack a toothbrush than forgetting to protect your data. So, before you venture out of the office, make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your information safe.

Safe space. Use your company's virtual private network (VPN) whenever you can access it. This provides a direct link to your work data and resources, while ensuring an added layer of protection from hackers.

Lock down. Protect your devices with a PIN number or finger ID so that nobody, except you, can access them. Also, create strong security codes and passwords for your accounts that don't incorporate personal information such as your name or birthday.

Out of reach. Keep the information you're using saved in the cloud or stored on an external drive. This comes in handy when crossing international borders. As the laws pertaining to data theft and ownership can vary in different places, you may be forced to offer up private company information that can put you in a legal bind.

Draw the line. To prevent your device from immediately syncing to an unprotected network, disable auto-connect features for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so these must be done manually.

Time to upgrade. Check that anti-virus protection software is installed on your personal device and update your operating systems and apps so that you're working with the latest versions possible.

Protecting Your Work On The Road

Once you've taken the necessary steps to ensure your electronic defenses are up, here are some tips to help you physically manage your data and devices safely while you're working on-the-go:

  1. Never leave your devices out in the open in your hotel room. Use the safe available in most hotel rooms when going out or bring items along in your travel bag or backpack so you know where they are at all times.
  2. If a company tablet or laptop is lost, contact Information Technology Help Desk so they can immediately shut down access to the device. Also, phone features such as Find My iPhone for Apple, or Device Manager for Android, can allow you to remotely wipe or lock data from your device.
  3. When charging your device, be careful connecting your phone or laptop to USB ports as they may be collecting sensitive information. If you're using a rental car, charge your device through the cigarette lighter. And, if you're at the airport, clear all apps and programs when using charging stations.
  4. Don't keep all of your devices, flash drives, and passwords in one place. Storing them separately will allow you to better manage your response to lost or stolen devices as well as prevent or limit someone's access to your data.
  5. When you're not in need of Internet access, put your device on airplane mode. This will automatically suspend connectivity and visibility of your devices to any surrounding networks that may be prime for hacking.

Being Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

The Internet is a vital tool in getting work done. That's why it's one of the first things we seek out when we arrive somewhere new. However, this means we must often rely on public Wi-Fi, which can be risky when handling important information. So, how can you keep data safe when working in an unknown network?

  1. Avoid using public computers in a hotel or cafe to log into work accounts or access sensitive information. If you don't, you could leave a perfect trail for the next person to retrace your steps and obtain your data.
  2. Only connect to official Wi-Fi offerings, as this will be the most secure network option available. Be aware of fake accounts, or malicious hotspots, created by hackers to trick users into connecting to unsafe networks.
  3. Never log onto a network that doesn't require a password. If you're staying in a hotel, ask about its security protocol when connecting to the web. And, turn off Wi-Fi when you don't need it.
  4. Disable file-sharing as this could be an easy way for hackers to dine and dash with your important work documents.
  5. Visit websites that are enabled by HTPPS. Although two-factor authentication may be disabled on the road, these addresses indicate some level of encryption that will protect data.

By taking a few simple, proactive steps to secure your data while traveling, you can some of the common pressures that come with being on the road.